Obviously this is not a post on whisky. Although it might be in a couple of years since BrewDog is building or having a distillery. I’m not sure since there are some planning issues but they do have a vodka and gin available, and some random whisky with a fancy label.
This is about the announcement from the BrewDog AGM last weekend that 22% of the company is sold to some venture capitalist called TSG Group, from San Francisco.
While it is not necessarily a surprise that BrewDog was going corporate, it does strike me as odd, since BrewDog was (is?) a company that is very proud of the punk-ness. Whatever that means.
Only a year and a half ago they slammed Lagunitas for selling out to Heineken. Admittedly, Lagunitas sold a majority share, instead of 22%. And that 22% is, according to Pete Brown’s post on it, still less than the founders have individually.
Honestly, I don’t even really have an opinion on the fact that they ‘sold out’. I should have seen it coming when they started suing random companies that may or may not have used one of their trademarks. They even tried to ban some booze company from using the work punk, which seems to me as a very non-punk thing to do.
The point that strikes me as most odd in this entire situation is that BrewDog was, in the past, so feverishly against external investors that were not part of their Equity Punk scheme. They were against corporate participation in ‘craft’ breweries. They were against big-beer. By now it seems, though, that they have become big beer themselves, with hundreds of employees, a couple dozen bars all over the world and a second brewery in the USA.
The point is, regarding all this, that it just doesn’t suit the way they market themselves. I understand the reasons behind selling a part of the company. I understand the drive to keep growing and expanding. I do not understand how you can keep claiming to be punk, independent and against a lot of things when you’re part of it.
Especially since a lot of BrewDog fans (like me) liked them initially for their grassroots business and for them to not be part of the establishment (which, admittedly, they have become part of quite some time ago).
Just my two cents.
I won’t be boycotting anything BrewDog now, but I might think twice where to spend my money. Especially since I think a lot of BrewDog’s non-standard beers are a bit too expensive. If I’m buying anything ‘craft’y, I just might spend it on the little guy…